20 Books Recommended by Adam Grant
Adam Grant is an American organizational psychologist, author, and professor.
Adam Grant is a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has received several awards for his teaching and research, including being recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50. Grant is a prolific author, known for his books on work, psychology, and success. Five of his books, the #1 New York Times bestseller, have sold millions of copies and been translated into 45 different languages. Adam Grant hosts a popular podcast called “WorkLife with Adam Grant,” where he explores various aspects of work and psychology, offering insights and advice on improving workplace dynamics and personal productivity. He is known for his thought leadership in the fields of organizational psychology, motivation, and leadership. His TED Talks and articles in prestigious publications have garnered widespread attention. Grant has consulted and conducted workshops for various organizations, helping them improve their work environments, leadership practices, and employee satisfaction.
Here are some books recommended by the author himself that you must read:
Upstream by Dan Heath
When we shift our energies upstream, we stop dealing with the symptoms of problems and we start fixing problems.
If we can stop crimes from being committed, we do not need to work to ‘solve’ crimes.
If we can prevent chronic diseases from developing, we do not need to treat these diseases.
If we can provide affordable housing, we do not need to provide shelter for the homeless.
Looking to business, politics, and society, Dan Heath shows us that we have the capacity to solve some of our thorniest personal, organisational and societal issues. We just need to start to think about the system rather than the symptoms. Drawing on insights from his extensive research, as well as hundreds of new interviews with unconventional problem solvers, Dan delivers practical solutions for preventing problems rather than simply reacting to them.
More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys
More Myself is part autobiography, part narrative documentary. Alicia’s journey is revealed not only through her own candid recounting, but also through vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her. The result is a 360-degree perspective on Alicia’s path: from her girlhood in Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem, to the process of self-discovery she’s still navigating.
With the raw honesty that epitomizes Alicia’s artistry, More Myself is at once a riveting account and a clarion call to readers: to define themselves in a world that rarely encourages a true and unique identity.
What’s Your Problem? by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg
Are you solving the right problems? Have you or your colleagues ever worked hard on something, only to find out you were focusing on the wrong problem entirely? Most people have. In a survey, 85 percent of companies said they often struggle to solve the right problems. The consequences are severe: Leaders fight the wrong strategic battles. Teams spend their energy on low-impact work. Startups build products that nobody wants. Organizations implement “solutions” that somehow make things worse, not better. Everywhere you look, the waste is staggering. As Peter Drucker pointed out, there’s nothing more dangerous than the right answer to the wrong question.
There is a way to do better.
The key is reframing, a crucial, underutilized skill that you can master with the help of this book. Using real-world stories and unforgettable examples like “the slow elevator problem,” author Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg offers a simple, three-step method – Frame, Reframe, Move Forward – that anyone can use to start solving the right problems. Reframing is not difficult to learn. It can be used on everyday challenges and on the biggest, trickiest problems you face. In this visually engaging, deeply researched book, you’ll learn from leaders at large companies, from entrepreneurs, consultants, nonprofit leaders, and many other breakthrough thinkers.
It’s time for everyone to stop barking up the wrong trees. Teach yourself and your team to reframe, and growth and success will follow.
Joy at Work by Marie Kondo
In Joy at Work, KonMari method pioneer Marie Kondo and organizational psychologist Scott Sonenshein will help you to refocus your mind on what’s important at work, and as their examples show, the results can be truly life-changing. With advice on how to improve the way you work, the book features advice on problem areas including fundamentals like how to organize your digital and physical desktop, finally get through your emails and find balance by ditching distractions and focusing on what sparks joy.
YOU’RE NOT LISTENING by Kate Murphy
Now more than ever, we need to listen to those around us. New York Times contributor Kate Murphy draws on countless conversations she has had with everyone from priests to CIA interrogators, focus group moderators to bartenders, her great-great aunt to her friend’s toddler, to show how only by listening well can we truly connect with others.
Listening has the potential to transform our relationships and our working lives, improve our self-knowledge, and increase our creativity and happiness. While it may take some effort, it’s a skill that can be learnt and perfected.
When all we crave is to understand and be understood, You’re Not Listening shows us how.
Masters of Scale by Reid Hoffman
Here, Hoffman teams up with Masters of Scale’s executive producers to offer a rare window into the entrepreneurial mind. They share surprising, never-before-told stories from leaders of the world’s most iconic companies, including Apple, Nike, Netflix, Spotify, Starbucks, Google, Instagram and Microsoft, as well as the bold, disruptive startups – from 23andMe to TaskRabbit, from the Black List to the Bevel razor – solving the problems of the twenty-first century.
Through vivid storytelling and straightforward analysis, Masters of Scale distils their collective insights into a set of counterintuitive principles that anyone can use. How do you find a winning idea and turn it into a scalable venture? What can you learn from a ‘squirmy no’? When should you stop listening to your customers? Which fires should you put out right away, and which should you let burn? And can you really make money while making the world a better place? (Answer: Yes. But you have to do the work to keep your profits and values aligned.)
Based on more than 100 interviews, and incorporating new material never aired on the podcast, Masters of Scale offers a unique insider’s guide, filled with insights, wisdom, and strategies that will inspire you to reimagine how you do business today.
Eat a Peach by David Chang
Its young chef-owner, David Chang, served ramen and pork buns to a mix of fellow restaurant cooks and confused diners whose idea of ramen was instant noodles in Styrofoam cups.
Eat a Peach chronicles Chang’s journey to becoming one of the most influential chefs of his generation. Laying bare his mistakes and feelings of otherness and inadequacy, Chang gives us a penetrating look at restaurant life.
Play Nice But Win by Michael Dell
Play Nice But Win is a riveting account of the three battles waged for Dell Technologies: one to launch it, one to keep it, and one to transform it. For the first time, Dell reveals the highs and lows of the company’s evolution amidst a rapidly changing industry—and his own, as he matured into the CEO it needed. With humor and humility, he recalls the mentors who showed him how to turn his passion into a business; the competitors who became friends, foes, or both; and the sharks that circled, looking for weakness. What emerges is the long-term vision underpinning his success: that technology is ultimately about people and their potential.
More than an honest portrait of a leader at a crossroads, Play Nice But Win is a survival story proving that while anyone with technological insight and entrepreneurial zeal might build something great—it takes a leader to build something that lasts.
A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug by Sarah Lacy
A rallying cry for working mothers everywhere that demolishes the “distracted, emotional, weak” stereotype and definitively shows that these professionals are more focused, decisive, and stronger than any other force.
Working mothers aren’t a liability. They are assets you—and every manager and executive—want in your company, in your investment portfolio, and in your corner.
There is copious academic research showing the benefits of working mothers on families and the benefits to companies who give women longer and more flexible parental leave. There are even findings that demonstrate women with multiple children actually perform better at work than those with none or one.
Yet despite this concrete proof that working mothers are a lucrative asset, they still face the “Maternal Wall”—widespread unconscious bias about their abilities, contributions, and commitment. Nearly eighty percent of women are less likely to be hired if they have children—and are half as likely to be promoted. Mothers earn an average $11,000 less in salary and are held to higher punctuality and performance standards. Forty percent of Silicon Valley women said they felt the need to speak less about their family to be taken more seriously. Many have been told that having a second child would cost them a promotion.
Fortunately, this prejudice is slowly giving way to new attitudes, thanks to more women starting their own businesses, and companies like Netflix, Facebook, Apple, and Google implementing more parent-friendly policies. But the most important barrier to change isn’t about men. Women must rethink the way they see themselves after giving birth. As entrepreneur Sarah Lacy makes clear in this cogent, persuasive analysis and clarion cry, the strongest, most lucrative, and most ambitious time of a woman’s career may easily be after she sees a plus sign on a pregnancy test.
SOCIAL CHEMISTRY by Marissa King
Conventional wisdom would have us believe that it is the size of your network that matters: how many people do you know? We’re told to mix, mingle, and connect.But social science research suggests otherwise. The quality and structure of our relationships have far greater impact on our personal and professional lives. our relationships with friends, family, co-workers, neighbours, and collaborators are by far our greatest asset. Yet, most people leave them to chance.In this ground-breaking study, Marissa King, Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale, argues that there are strategic ways in which we can alter our relationships for a happier and more fulfilling life. With new understanding, this book can help readers to see how they can harness the power of their networks in their personal relationships, at work, and to create a better world.
Rise by Lindsey Vonn
In Rise, Vonn shares her incredible journey for the first time, going behind the scenes of a badass life built around resilience and risk-taking. One of the most aggressive skiers ever, Vonn offers a fascinating glimpse into the relentless pursuit of her limits, a pursuit so focused on one-upping herself that she pushed her body past its breaking point as she achieved greatness. While this iconic grit and perseverance helped her battle a catalog of injuries, these injuries came with a cost—physical, of course, but also mental. Vonn opens up about her decades-long depression and struggles with self-confidence, discussing candidly how her mental health challenges influenced her career without defining her.
Through it all, she dissects the moments that sidelined her and how, each time, she clawed her way back using an iconoclastic approach rooted in hard work—pushing boundaries, challenging expectations, and speaking her mind, even when it got her into trouble. At once empowering and raw, Rise is an inspirational look at her hard-fought success as well as an honest appraisal of the sacrifices she made along the way—an emotional journey of winning that understands all too well that every victory comes with a price.
Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee
In Do Nothing, award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee illuminates a new path ahead, seeking to institute a global shift in our thinking so we can stop sabotaging our well-being, put work aside and start living instead of doing.
The key lies in embracing what makes us human: our creativity, our social connections (Instagram doesn’t count), our ability for reflective thought, and our capacity for joy. Celeste’s strategies will allow you to regain control over your life and break your addiction to false efficiency, including:
Increase your time perception and determine how your hours are being spent.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Invest in quality idle time. Take a hot bath and listen to music.
Spend face-to-face time with friends and family
It’s time to recover our leisure time and reverse the trend that’s making us all sadder, sicker, and less productive.
Life Is in the Transitions by Bruce Feiler
Life Is in the Transitions introduces the fresh, illuminating vision of the nonlinear life, in which each of us faces dozens of disruptors. One in ten of those becomes what Feiler calls a lifequake, a massive change that leads to a life transition. The average length of these transitions is five years. The upshot: We all spend half our lives in this unsettled state. You or someone you know is going through one now.
The most exciting thing Feiler identified is a powerful new tool kit for navigating these pivotal times. Drawing on his extraordinary trove of insights, he lays out specific strategies each of us can use to reimagine and rebuild our lives, often stronger than before.
From a master storyteller with an essential message, Life Is in the Transitions can move readers of any age to think deeply about times of change and how to transform them into periods of creativity and growth.
Perfectly Confident by Don A Moore
A surge of confidence can feel fantastic—offering a rush of energy, even a dazzling vision of the future. It can give us courage and bolster our determination when facing adversity. But if that self-assurance leads us to pursue impossible goals, it can waste time, money, and energy. Self-help books and motivational speakers tell us that the more confident we are, the better. But this way of thinking can lead to enormous trouble.
Decades of research demonstrates that we often have an over-inflated sense of self and are rarely as good as we believe. Perfectly Confident is the first book to bring together the best psychological and economic studies to explain exactly what confidence is, when it can be helpful, and when it can be destructive in our lives.
Confidence is an attitude that takes into account both personal feelings and the facts. Don Moore identifies the ways confidence behaves in real life and raises thought-provoking questions. How optimistic should you be about an uncertain future? What justifies your confidence in something amorphous and subjective like your attractiveness or sense of humor?
Moore reminds us that the key to success is to avoid being both over- and under-confident. In this essential guide, he shows how to become perfectly confident—how to strive for and maintain the well-calibrated, adaptive confidence that can elevate all areas of our lives.
All You Have to Do Is Ask by Wayne Baker
Here, Wayne Baker shares a set of strategies—used at companies like Google, GM, and IDEO—that individuals, teams, and leaders can use to make asking for help a personal and organizational habit, including:
• A quiz to identify your asking-giving style
• SMART criteria for who, when, and how to ask
• “Plug-and-play ” routines that make requests a standard component of meetings
• Mini-games that incentivize asking within teams
• The Reciprocity Ring, a guided activity that allows people to tap into the giving power of a network.
Together by Vivek H Murthy
The book we need NOW to avoid a social recession, Murthy’s prescient message is about the importance of human connection, the hidden impact of loneliness on our health, and the social power of community.
The lessons in Together have immediate relevance and application. These four key strategies will help us not only to weather this crisis, but also to heal our social world far into the future.
- Spend time each day with those you love. Devote at least 15 minutes each day to connecting with those you most care about.
- Focus on each other. Forget about multitasking and give the other person the gift of your full attention, making eye contact, if possible, and genuinely listening.
- Embrace solitude. The first step toward building stronger connections with others is to build a stronger connection with oneself. Meditation, prayer, art, music, and time spent outdoors can all be sources of solitary comfort and joy.
- Help and be helped. Service is a form of human connection that reminds us of our value and purpose in life. Checking on a neighbor, seeking advice, even just offering a smile to a stranger six feet away, all can make us stronger.
Tightrope by Nicholas D. Kristof
“A deft and uniquely credible exploration of rural America, and of other left-behind pockets of our country. One of the most important books I’ve read on the state of our disunion.”—Tara Westover, author of Educated
Drawing us deep into an “other America,” the authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the people with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon. It’s an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared.
About a quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. While these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia.
With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.
Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol
In this accessible and practical book, Ozan Varol reveals nine simple strategies from rocket science that you can use to make your own giant leaps in work and life — whether it’s landing your dream job, accelerating your business, learning a new skill, or creating the next breakthrough product. Today, thinking like a rocket scientist is a necessity. We all encounter complex and unfamiliar problems in our lives. Those who can tackle these problems — without clear guidelines and with the clock ticking — enjoy an extraordinary advantage.
Think Like a Rocket Scientist will inspire you to take your own moonshot and enable you to achieve lift-off.
Friendship by Lydia Denworth
In Friendship, science journalist Lydia Denworth takes us in search of the biological, psychological, and evolutionary foundations of this important bond. She finds that the human capacity for friendship is as old as humanity itself, when tribes of people on the African savanna grew large enough for individuals to seek meaningful connection with those outside their immediate families. Lydia meets scientists at the frontiers of brain and genetics research, and discovers that friendship is reflected in our brain waves, our genomes, and our cardiovascular and immune systems; its opposite, loneliness, can kill.
With insight and warmth, Lydia weaves past and present, biology and neuroscience, to show how our bodies and minds are designed for friendship, and how this is changing in the age of social media. Blending compelling science, storytelling, and a grand evolutionary perspective, she delineates
the essential role that cooperation and companionship play in creating human (and non-human) societies.
Friendship illuminates the vital aspects of friendship, both visible and invisible, and offers a refreshingly optimistic vision of human nature. It is a clarion call for putting positive relationships at the centre of our lives.
Stolen Focus by Johann Hari
Is your ability to focus and pay attention in free fall?
You are not alone. The average office worker now focuses on any one task for just three minutes. But it’s not your fault. Your attention didn’t collapse. It has been stolen.
Internationally bestselling author Johann Hari shows twelve deep factors harming our focus. Once we understand them, together, we can take back our minds.
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